Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why Shoot a Butler?

Title: Why Shoot a Butler?
Author: Georgette Heyer
Original Copyright: 1933
Copyright: 2009 (Sourcebooks); 329 pgs.
ISBN: 978-1-4022-1795-1
Series: N/A
Sensuality: N/A
Genre: Mystery

Summary: London barrister Frank Amberley is on his way to visit his uncle, Sir Humphrey Matthews, in the country. Opting to take his cousin Felicity's so-called "short cut", Frank gets lost and stumbles onto an interesting scene: a dead man in a car and a young woman standing in the road, claiming she didn't kill him. Frank believes she didn't murder the man despite the circumstances, but he's sure she knows more than she's telling. Revealing her presence at the scene of the crime to the local police would complicate things unnecessarily, so he omits the fact when he reports the murder and starts making his own inquiries.

Comments: I usually have a hard time reading mysteries because sometimes I figure out the clues faster than than the protagonist. Not so with this mystery. Frank keeps things to himself, so you really don't know what he's already discovered, and we have to guess what he's up to until the author lets us in on his secrets -- unless you're his Aunt Marion. Lady Matthews is apparently a lot shrewder than anyone would guess, and manages to figure out much of the mystery, though only person who knows that is Frank. She's my favorite character and Frank adores her. There was one character who's behavior made me think that perhaps this person was the culprit or, the very least, an accomplice. Since this book is a mystery, I don't want to go into too much detail about the characters and their actions, since I don't want to give anything away.

Being a barrister, Frank's familiar with crime in general, and motives, so he's not a complete amateur when it comes to mysteries. He's also abrasive and he has little respect for the investigative abilities of the local constabulary. And after seeing them at work, it's not surprising. I imagined Frank to be like those characters in the old black and white movies. In fact, since the book was written in the 30s, I could easily picture Cary Grant, or one of his contemporaries, playing the part. It made it easier for me to "get" the characters and I enjoyed the book more for it.

This was my first Heyer mystery and I really like it. I will definitely be reading her others.

Finished: 1 October 2010

(Note: Cross-posted from my blog)


Heyer said...

i dont have this one and i own just about all of them. way prefere the romances to the mysteries though her superintendent Hannasyde mysteries recently sucked me in.
Im such a novel addict though that i'm giving up novels for a year, to see what else i can do...

might have to get a copy of this though for later...

Christina said...

Ack! I really aught to subscribe to the comments!

I have all the mysteries (I think, better check on that), so I'll be meeting him at some point. :-)

I couldn't give up reading for a year! Cut back, yes. Give it up? No. I watch very little TV and rarely go to the movies. Reading is my primary entertainment. Once I get more settled in my new place, I'll pick up one or both of the crafts I like to do.